The Great Big Battle of the Mini Hollands Bike Blog Roundup

With the deadline approaching for comments on the first tranche of Enfield's Mini Holland scheme, and the plans for Enfield town centre released for consultation, what may be come to be known as the Battle of Green Lanes is hotting up: those calling for 'balance' don't seem to understand that means redressing imbalances, not perpetuating them, while it takes an eight-year-old to put her finger on the problem. The Enfield campaigners may recognise some of these stages, although they're nowhere near acceptance yet, while the shopkeepers of Utrecht would wonder what all the fuss is about as they ask for parking to be *removed* from in front of their shops. Meanwhile, the City of London seems to be taking a leaf out of the New Forest's book as it consults over banning cyclists from Epping Forest - strange that outer London should turn out to be going backwards with its green spaces even as Cape Town sees the light.

Battling the antis

The Enfield campaigners are not alone in battling bizarre reasons for rejecting bike lanes - perhaps James Corden could be persuaded to weigh in? Inside Croydon digs a little deeper and finds one serial objector to anti-car schemes and his multiple identities (does he maybe also have a seat on Dublin Council we wonder?) Lest this may all seem like a storm in a bike lane - remember that the costs of inaction (and benefits of action) are huge, so it's a shame that a city like Boulder lets a little backlash spook it into cutting a road diet trial short.


Hashtag of the week award goes to Philadelpha who discover that three days in a city without cars as they lock down for the Pope's visit opens eyes to what life could be like and leads to calls for it to become an annual event, albeit probably without the actual Pope - while in New Jersey they clamped down on bikes instead and missed out on all the fun. A papal visit might be a step too far for a city with Belfast's history but its residents did enjoy their first Ciclovia, with local politicians taking the lead. Paris too has been feeling the benefit of its open streets with its first car-free day bringing massive drops in pollution and noise while Chicago is aiming for something on a rather smaller scale...

Political will

With conference season well under way, cyclists turned out to meet politicians at the Labour Party bash in Brighton and were joined by the shadow transport team - while Chris Boardman has persuaded the Minister for Cycling to join him on a rather longer tour (no need to invite the leader of the opposition; Jeremy Corbin turns out to already be an admirer of Dutch cycling infrastructure). In Scotland We Walk, We Cycle, We Vote is gearing up to put active travel on the political agenda while Great Gas Beetle wonders what devolution in Sheffield will mean for cycling - perhaps they'll get a mayor who doesn't just take up cycling to work once a week but uses it as an opportunity to talk to constituents about issues far beyond cycling.

Before and after

When transformation does happen, it can be hard to remember what came before - but some nice gifs courtesy of Google Streetview show the changes that have been wrought in Chicago while the Guardian is loking for photos of new cycling infrastructure as it goes in (or #freshkermit as it's known in New York). Not that all of it lasts: Edinburgh's there and gone again trial cycle lane in George St - and plans for its future - have drawn mixed responses, perhaps because of the way it switched sides half way along the street. Sometimes it's the numbers that really do the talking - with bike counts suggesting a huge surge in cyclists on Toronto's new protected bike lanes while Pittsburgh has seen a doubling of bike commuters since it started putting in bike lanes.

Not that 'build it and they will come' works everywhere: Portland's latest bike bridge doesn't seem to be generating new bike traffic just yet, while a classic UK underpass does nothing to join two communities severed by a major road. In Australia, half built cycle projects are leaving bridges fenced off while a Cambridge bike trail would be so much more useful if it had a bridge to connect it into the network - and an Irish bridge built for the use of the Guinness family would be better served connecting two parts of the city for walkers and cyclists than gently crumbling into the Liffey.

Understanding infrastructure

And, of course, you can't just build it - you've got to build it right; the Embassy's own Mark Treasure was on form with a mission to explain about understanding road classification for sustainable safety, how filtered permeability works and, most importantly, why jughandles should be left on jugs and not built into our streets. Get Sutton Cycling wondered what Wallington would look like if it were Waalinden while there's a rare bit of trouble in cycling paradise as Arnhem and Nijmegen can't decide what colour their signs should be on their latest fast cycle route. Oh to have such problems - instead we have to worry about road designs in Sheffield that do nothing to make space for cycling (it could be worse - they could be following Auckland's lead and making things worse on a junction on its own cycling network) and plans from TfL that don't even seem to take account of the new London design standards - because the best design guidelines in the world are no good if they're just sitting on a shelf. Sometimes it's hard to know what to do with massive six-road junctions - and sometimes, work to improve one part of a city only serves to create barriers elsewhere although at least TfL's first 'hold the left' junction seems to be working at least so far.

Going places

It's not just cycling ministers that get to go on study tours: various Irish movers and shakers are at least getting it right by starting with a study tour of the Netherlands - something even the fast lycra-clad type of campaigner can appreciate. Meanwhile, Seville might not be all it's cracked up to be in cycling terms but is a very pleasant city all the same - while Rotorua might seem like a great place to visit but it would be even greater for everyday cycling if it had built bikes in to its plans from the start.

Will no-one think of the children?

Beyond the Kerb dissects some scary road safety material that seems more likely to drive kids into cars than keep them safe - although given that even a bunch of kids riding for ice cream can get grief and close pass, maybe they don't need any additional propaganda. Bike Shop Girl discovers that when a bike snob and a paediatrician have a baby sourcing a bike that's good enough for the resulting precious cargo can be tricky, while Dead Dog Blog finds that car-free family life is compromised when you can't get your whole family's bikes on the train - a problem that's only likely to get worse as the trains get upgraded. And Ireland decides not to extend its cycle to work scheme into a cycle to school one because, well, reasons.

Diversity matters

Is cycling a class issue? A disagreement in the Guardian leads Peter Walker to argue that it's only confined to the city boys when the infrastructure is done badly enough to exclude everyone else. Writing from both within and outside the campaigning world - in a thoughtful post every cycle campaigner should read and inwardly digest - Urban Adonia shows how monolithic cycle campaigning can stifle the voices of the very communities we hope we are serving - perhaps something for Newcastle's forthcoming conference joining activists and academics to consider. Researchers in the Cycle Boom are finding that they're getting insights not just into cycling but the nature of aging while the latest all-ability cycling project reminds us that cycling really can be for everyone - and no, it doesn't matter what you wear (unless your city is competing for the title of best for cycling in office attire...)


As cafes and coffee shops around the globe brace themselves for a coffeeneuring-related uptick in their profits perhaps McDonald's is looking in the wrong place for its passing trade on the East-West superhighway. Other large employers are seeing the light and joining the Choose Cycling network to encourage their employees to cycle to work - while bike companies get behind the Trails for Wales campaign. For those more interested in Social Enterprises there is a book that can help you start one, while a company in Portland is offering a bike tour with a twist... no doubt you'll be advised to wait until after you're done cycling to spark up.

And finally ...

What does a cyclist do after she (apparently) rises from the dead (did the Pope visit Wisconsin?): ask for her bike back of course ...